Thursday, May 27, 2010

Nail Art

Woo-hoo! I believe this is a record number of posts per month for me! I mean, just because I split everything up instead of trying to finish one long post doesn't mean that these don't count - 'cause they DO!

I went on Tuesday to get a pedicure and have a relaxing moment before the girls are out for summer vacation. After that I felt inspired, so I got some white and yellow nail polish and proceeded to try my hand at nail art (on Maggie's fingers - not on my freshly paid-for pedicure.)

She and I have a deal - if I paint her nails, she will work on not picking at the skin around her fingernails. So far it's working okay (not great) but she picks off the polish instead of the skin. Better, but not perfect. Last time she asked if I could do dots, but I didn't have the proper tools for the job, or at least I thought I didn't. Well, after a trip to Sally Beauty Supply I now have a proper nail art brush, and Target supplied all the funky nail polish colors you could want.

So, could I stop at just dots? No! I wanted to do something one step up. We went for flowers - also known as glorified dots. Specifically, white petals with yellow centers. First I tried using the little brush. The first one looked more like a fried egg. Checking the numerous articles on the Internet, I got a standard toothpick and made the dots. Too little. Finally we hit upon the perfect tool - a fancy toothpick from Cracker Barrel. They have only one end that is pointy, and the other end has ridges carved into it. Why we even have them, I don't know. They are too special to use for teeth - we've had this pack for at least five years and have maybe used two. Well, now they've found their purpose, because the larger end makes perfect flower dots.

Who'd'a thunk?

Bowling Fun

This week our church's usual father/son bowling night was opened up to the female members of the family. We donned our rental shoes and bowled the night away.
The girls finally got the hang of throwing the ball down the lane without lofting it way into the air first, and though we kept the bumpers up on the kid lanes, they got rid of the ramp for most of their turns.

They had such a good time, I signed us up for the free bowling program this summer: Click Here for Kids Bowl Free. You still have to pay for shoes, but it sounds like great indoor (read: Air Conditioned!) fun for when we hit July and it's blazingly hot outside. Come join us!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Home Intruders

The other day while I was getting ready for the day, I kept hearing this thumping noise, almost like someone was in the house. I knew that there was no one home but me, and so I dismissed it as noise from some construction or roofing job nearby.

I didn't think anything more of it until I was sitting at the kitchen table and I heard a really loud thump that was obviously something on my back porch. I moved to the window overlooking the porch, but couldn't see anything. Pretty soon I heard more noise, so I opened the door and stepped out to see if there was an injured bird or something, such as the robin we found tangled in our rosebush last year. As I was standing there, I saw the lid of the girl's toy box jiggle. I reached over there and opened it and found myself face to face with this critter:

It's our birdseed thief! I had been storing the birdseed in the box, but found the day prior that someone (I had assumed a mouse) had chewed through the bag when the girls left the box open, so I relocated the birdseed to the garage and closed the box. Apparently the squirrel got in the box, but then couldn't get enough leverage to get back out. I had scared him pretty good when I opened the box, and he had dived for cover under the toys, so I went inside and got a broom and my camera and then unearthed him and poked him until he left. He was making a lot of weird noises as I was uncovering him - telling me off, no doubt! I thought he might be absent for awhile after that, but he was back sniffing around the box in 10 minutes. He's a bottomless pit when it comes to birdseed.

The next day I opened to door for Maggie to walk out to the school bus stop, and this dive-bombed me:

I couldn't really tell what it was, and I didn't have time to deal with it, so I tossed a plastic tub over it when it landed and left that job for the man of the house. It's funny, the snake didn't bother me much, but the bugs get me every time. Unfortunately, Maggie is much the same. We were at the park a few days ago and Jerry and I hear blood-curdling screams and crying from across the park, so we sprint over there, and Maggie is hysterical because a bug (later to be elaborated on as a brown beetle with spots) landed on her arm.

Tonight we got back from riding bikes / walking, and she was extremely hot and sweaty. I pointed out that she had worn a long sleeve shirt, and it was in the upper 80's. Her reply: "Mom! There are BUGS! REMEMBER?!!" Ah yes. The phobias live on!

Stormy Weather Makes Great Clouds!

We've had some pretty intense storms this month. Once the girls and I got into our storm shelter for about forty-five minutes. It was a bit funny, because the storm came through about 4:45 at our house. The majority of the weather was south of us, about 12 tornadoes, and several people were killed. They reported that in 9:00 news in DFW, so all the sudden, as we are tucking the girls into bed we start getting flooded with calls from concerned family members wanting to know if were were okay. A delayed reaction, as it was.

Still, I guess were are getting acclimated to the storms, because as they blew through again the next week, instead of taking cover in the storm shelter, I was out on the back porch, taking photos of the clouds just like a native Oklahoman. At least until they started rotating. Just Kidding, Mom! The sky above our house was perfectly clear at this point, and as the sun was setting, it made some really interesting cloud shapes. Here's a nice one:

And I think that the right side the next one looks like a turtle or chameleon (the sun spot would be it's mouth). I think it's about to hack up a tornado. Better go get in the shelter. . .

Mother's Day

It was a simple and quiet day - the kind that this mom loves!

We went out to lunch after church, and then relaxed at home. I gave each girl a turn with my camera to take a picture of me with their sister. They enjoyed playing photographer, and I think we got some good shots.

Wierd Science

Well, for those of you who were waiting on the edge of your chair to see how Maggie's science project turned out, here are the results. Actually, these are our victims. Three perfectly healthy marigolds. Maggie potted them and attached the labels so we would be able to tell them apart, and then we proceeded to water them with their designated substances:
By day three, they were looking a bit desperate.

It didn't particularly help that the backyard critters were also attracted to our non-water plants. The milk and soda plants were eventually destroyed by critter attacks.

Maggie wanted to include a photo of herself working on her project in her display. I loved this photo of her journaling with her subjects:

But she preferred this one where she is smiling. Of course, it was her project, so this one won.

Now, here's the overview of her board. She made a pencil sketch on a piece of paper first, then arranged everything and we had to resize some of the photos so it would all fit, but she made sure it would all work before she pasted it down.

She took great care in selecting little accent stickers to put on the corners of her text to make sure it all stuck to the board well, choosing a different but or flower for each piece of paper.

But this was the best part, I thought. The focal point of the whole display was the picture of her. I don't know if you can see the picture clearly, but check out the stickers on the corners of her photo:

In case you can't read them, they say, "Awesome", "Exciting", "Terrific", and "Fantastic." At the top of the photo is a caption that says, "The scientist that made this experiment happen!" I know that as a mother of girls, I often worry about their self-esteem. I'm beginning to think I worry about that too much. It doesn't seem to be a problem here!

Needless to say, (perhaps due to the power of suggestion?) Maggie did very well on her experiment. Perhaps a scientist has been born!


One thing we've been glad to get back to in May is our (almost) daily walks. Now that the girls have the training wheels off their bikes, they charge ahead. We see a lot of this:

We have a lot of walking trails that go through the neighborhood that adjoins ours, and we use them often. On the way to the park the trail runs up against a fence line of a horse breeder's property. It's a scenic (if sometimes pungent) addition to the neighborhood. There were no horses today, although they have two colts that are just cute as, well, um, new colts, up in the front pasture. Jerry and I shudder to think what will happen if they ever sell out to a developer.
Anyway, once we get to the park Jerry and I walk around the trail around pool and playground as the girls zoom by us and occasionally stop to play. They are putting in new playground equipment this week - we can hardly wait to see what improvements get made.

Gracie's all about speed, but Maggie likes to mug for the camera as she goes by.

Sometimes they take turns being the leader, but more often than not they ride halfway across from each other so they can each say that they are the leader. Whatever works!


At the end of April, Gracie's class was responsible for announcements. The day that she was scheduled for announcements was assembly day. Usually it's in the library, but for some reason that day it had to be held in the cafeteria / auditorium. Gracie was so excited that she got to stand on the stage and use a microphone that she requested that I come and take a picture of her. This is her leading the Pledge of Allegiance.

Something's Just Not Working Here!

I have tried several times this month to write a witty post about all the things that are going on around here, and I finally have decided to give up. What you will see in the next day or two are several short, decidedly non-witty, posts about what has been going on around here. At least you'll be in the know!

And that will make one of us.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Science Project and Spelling Tribulations

Ah, the end of school. . . The complete overload of regular life, plus end of year projects, plus end of year fun activities, plus end of year performances, plus the call of the newly warmed air and the siren song of a bike with no training wheels - it's a wonder we get anything done at all. But do it we must, so, forward ho!

Maggie's fourth grade science class is culminating in a science project. She brought home a slip of paper, on which we were supposed to write down the child's chosen science experiment or demonstration, and turn in this past Monday. They had written down some categories, none of which were particularly appealing to Maggie or me, so instead of sending in the paper on Monday, I wrote a note to the teacher asking if we could choose from other categories, or if our project must be from one of the listed categories. She replied that we could do anything. That afternoon though, when Maggie got home from school she was in tears. Why? Because she hadn't had her science slip, her weekly folder would have to be signed by me. I didn't understand exactly why she was upset, so she expounded - only BAD kids have to have their folder signed! This means she's a BAD PERSON!!! Sheesh. The pressure my child puts on herself would make a grown woman cry. We decided on a project right on the spot, filled out the slip, and put it in her bag. I hope we are redeemed.

***** ***** ***** *****

On the spelling side of things, we've had good weeks and bad weeks. Last week we hit a new low - Gracie missed every single spelling word on the test. We really didn't study at all though, so that was no surprise. Vowing to do better this week, and trying to make it more palatable for Gracie, I wrote her spelling words on a sheet of notebook paper, and after dinner I told her, "Take this paper, get a piece of sidewalk chalk, go out on the driveway and write your words on the driveway."

She looked at me like I was nuts and asked, "In chalk?"

"Yes." I answered.

She headed outside as I finished up the dinner dishes. After that I headed out there. When I got there, I saw a bit of drawing on one side of the driveway, and she was sitting on the other side, piece of chalk in hand, muttering letters. I didn't see any words though. I asked her, "Are you writing your words now?"

"Yes." A few more minutes went by and she remarked, "It's hard to do with this big piece of chalk!" I took a closer look and had an a-ha moment - she was using the chalk to write the words on the piece of paper as she sat in the middle of the driveway.

After a brief, internal, chuckle, I clarified that she was to write on the actual driveway. She agreed, that made more sense.

***** ***** ***** *****

Meanwhile, our science project is underway. Maggie is studying the effects of alternative plant hydration. That is, we're verifying that water is the best for plants. She's got one she's watering with water, one with milk, and one with soda. She chose root beer. Unfortunately, some neighborhood critter also likes root beer. That plant was tipped over last night. Now we need to critter-proof the experiment. She's taking great care so far - although it's early, we just started - she's keeping a journal, taking photos, planning for an attention-grabbing title. For me the hardest part is letting her do it by herself, as I love hands on experiments. Hopefully she will too!